A recent article in Forbes forecasts that the digital and physical retail experiences are going to meet in the middle during 2019. The brick-and-mortar shops will try to meet the demand for convenience. The online retailers will try to meet the consumers' need to touch and feel an item. The goal is to create a seamless experience between the digital and physical world that engages customers and builds loyalty.
Shopping is as Important as Buying
According to pskk research, 75% of Gen-Zers prefer shopping in stores with engaging experiences, and 45% say the experience of buying is as important as the product itself. For retailers, this move to combine the digital experience with the physical experience (known as phygital) is crucial to meeting customers' expectations.
While the digital-based technologies grab the headlines, the in-store retail experience is just as crucial to the seamless consumer experience. How do retailers create engaging in-store experiences that blend with the digital experience? In-store technology is one way to create a more seamless experience.
Improving the Customer Experience
Employees need information and lots of it – inventory, shipping dates, even customer preferences for loyal customers. Retail employees have been able to access this type of data from a centralized computer in the store for some time. Making this information available on mobile devices like tablets or smartphones means the employee can remain with the shopper. Continuous customer contact improves customer service and keeps the customer engaged.
Information is of little value if it can't be accessed quickly, when needed. There's nothing worse than standing in front of a customer, waiting for a page to load on your device. It frustrates the retail employee and the customer. It's critical to use technology that doesn't negatively impact your infrastructure.
Increasing Operational Efficiencies
For most employers, the onboarding process is often trial-and-error. Providing interactive training and videos that employees can access anytime can reduce the time it takes to become productive. When a new product line, menu option, or sales event is introduced, on-demand training can reduce the learning curve for employees. More knowledgeable staff means a better customer experience, which can lead to increased sales.
Moving to digital processes minimizes the time delays of more manual systems. More efficient processes mean more time for customer interaction. Technology can also enable workflows that identify areas for improvement and help ensure consistent operations. Consistency in customer service is key to an engaging customer experience.
Decreasing Employee Turnover
Retail has one of the highest turnover rates of any industry. According to a Hay Group report, the turnover rate for hourly store employees is 65%. What if retailers could curb employee turnover?
Putting technology in the hands of employees empowers them. When tech-savvy customers shop, they have done their online research. They want to interact with retail employees who have access to the same information and can add value to the in-store experience. Employees who add value are engaged employees who are more likely to stay. Why not look into a solution that can increase efficiencies, retain employees, and deliver a seamless in-store experience?